Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Arts and Entertainment

Let's Think Twice about New Wave

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

In the 80s, I kind of felt like I was living in the Twilight Zone. Particularly the episode where everyone thinks people with pig faces are beautiful. Back then, people were wearing asymmetrical everything, giant hair, giant shoulderpads, giant polkadots, and dayglo colors to complement the ultrathick, bushy eyebrows. My mother would try to force these horrible clothes on me in the dressing room, and it was as if they were burning my skin. Why were punkers the only ones who could see how ridiculous it was? I felt so grateful and validated when people finally started making fun of the 80s mainstream fashion and insipid new wave. Thank God they could finally see what I saw.

Recently I have noticed the influence of 80s New Wave seeping into bands like Gram Rabbit and Pop Tart Sprinkle and the Candy Kids. Their music is actually kind of good, which is what makes it so insidious. But I am on to them. They are showing up in public wearing ruffled miniskirts, asymmetrical ponytails and day-glow colors. New Wave is threatening to rear its ugly head again. Sure, electroclash was a little new wave, but it was more of an electronica thing. Dance clubs can have their Cherry Bikini. Electroclash didn't hit the mainstream. But right now I am beginning to feel The Fear. High School Musical and American Idol are covering this crap. A frightening nostalgia looms dangerously. Maybe people have just forgotten how bad it was. And before this goes any further, I think it is my responsibility to remind everyone before it's too late. We can still turn back.

Videos after the jump

How about a little Visage to jog the collective memory? A little Steve Strange with some self-indulgent art school melodrama and just a little whisper of French to remind us of new wave's Eurotrash obsession.

Support for LAist comes from

And on the other end of the bipolar spectrum, we have the manic insanity of Katrina and the Waves. When I worked at a record store, they played this song incessantly. In protest, one day I played Hot Rocks for six hours straight. Unfortunately, some employee privileges were taken away that day. Check out Katrina's impressive use of blush, purple eyeshadow, graphic prints and inane repetition in this video.

Men Without Hats hit the New Romantic note in fashion without losing that fantastic endless repetition that was the hallmark of new wave music. Keep an eye out for the dramatic single claps that punctuate this umm, "safe" dance.

Kajagoogoo: Cut-up T-shirt, check. Big haired girl, check. Horrific asymmetrical overly-creative hairdo, check. Endless repetition, check. Bass player swinging his bass side-to-side in time with the music, check. Self-obsessed, overly dramatic lead singer: check, check, check.

...and in case you're not convinced yet, I'll let La Bouche put the final nail in the coffin.

In the world of fashion - Maybe "Anything Goes" was not the best slogan ever.